Sir, – Prof Philip Nolan, chairman of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said on Sunday that there is very little evidence internationally that schools are a major site of Covid transmission and that most children contracted the virus at home (News, August 24th).
Surely this is mainly because most schools worldwide were closed until recently? The absence of evidence is therefore to be expected.
Using his logic, Prof Nolan could also state that there is very little evidence in Ireland that closed pubs are a major site of Covid transmission!
While the emerging evidence does appear to indicate that primary school children are less likely to catch and transmit Covid, it is becoming increasingly likely that this is not the case for second-level students. The worry now is that as schools fully reopen they, and not homes, will become the main transmission sites. The gradual reopening of schools, especially secondary schools, would have been much safer and wiser. – Yours, etc,
A chara, – The Government’s stated priority is a full return to schools this week. Keeping schools open will stand or fall on the availability of teachers for extra substitution and supervision duties. It therefore beggars belief that there would be two different hourly rates of pay for extra supervision in secondary schools, depending on the date a teacher qualified, and thereby compounding pay inequalities for this cohort. How will this situation encourage newer teachers to participate in a vital but challenging and risky duty?
Supposedly we’re all in this together in dealing with the Covid pandemic, but if you’re a younger teacher you are paid less for your effort. – Yours, etc,